©2002 Claire Tomalin; (P)2002 Penguin Books Ltd
"Tomalin not only brings him back to vibrant life, but makes a powerful case that he's more central, more 'relevant' than we ever imagined....She has restored to us the whole Pepys." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Our greatest diarist, analyzed by one of our greatest biographers. Tomalin's flawless research and trademark empathy with her subjects should make this portrait of one of the most fascinating characters of 17th-century England the best biography of the autumn." (Sunday Times [London]) "Tomalin writes brilliant chapters on all aspects of Pepys's life, relying not only on the diary but also on impressive scholarship....For those who have already enjoyed the diary, Tomalin's learned and entertaining work admirably fills in the gaps." (Publishers Weekly)
Claire Tomalin certainly knows how to tell a good story. This is a fascinating biography of Pepys, as well as the story of his diary - what it looks like, what it feels like, how he used it, and what happened to it after he died. To bring these parallel stories to life she has recreated the world in which Pepys lived, and introduces us to the people he knew and worked with. This is all supplemented by Tomalin's research into Pepys' life and times, and illuminated by passages from the diary. It's as close as you can get to meeting the man, and visiting the England of his day. Beautifully written, and competently read.
I know I like Claire Tomalins' biographies, but in this one is special because Pepys gives her some fabulous material to work with. The narrator sounds engaged in the story and overall, this is a great audiobook!
Claire Tomalin brings the author of the famous diaries to life in this engaging, sympathetic and unsentimental biography. With insight (and a certain amount of scholarly sleuthing) she presents us with a three-dimensional portrait of a great, if not always admirable, figure. There is plenty of fun here, lots of Restoration colour, and of course Pepys' own often outrageous opinions, but also much insight into human nature, elegantly and unpretentiously described. The years in which Pepys was writing his diaries are the meat of the book, and Tomalin would have done well to allow Pepys to speak for himself more often in this period, but this is a small complaint. The narrator is warm and unobtrusive. Altogether a most enjoyable listen. Highly recommended.
I really enjoyed this book. It moved along at a much more spanking rate than Tomalin's other recent biography on Charles Dickens (perhaps as there is less material available to the biographer?), so was quite gripping. But another man I found I didn't like much! Tomalin does give herself away this time in her admiration of him, less impartial in her view. Jill Balcon has a lovely measured 'posh' way of speaking, This is pitched perfectly at some points, like when describing in graphic detail the procedure of having ones kidney stones removed by 1600's method without anaesthetic! Think her dulcit tones where the only thing that got me through that passage!
"A book club choice, unexpectedly enjoyed this"
Yes, and furthermore, Claire tomalin made this difficult diary come to life
Not sure if I have listened to Jill balcon before
Not an emotional reaction but very pleased that I read this
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